MAY 8, 1942




U.S. Navy Photograph


When the attack on Pearl Harbor occurred Lexington was at sea in the Pacific.  Shortly thereafter she was sent to Wake Island to assist U.S. forces.  In February and March of 1942, she attacked Japanese positions in the southwestern Pacific then returned to Pearl Harbor for a brief overhaul period and removal of her eight-inch guns.

In May 1942, Lexington was sent to the Coral Sea and with USS Yorktown (CV-5) successfully slowed the Japanese offensive in those waters.  Heavily engaged on 7 and 8 May 1942 her planes helped sink the small Japanese aircraft carrier Shoho and also attacked the fleet carriers Shokaku and Zuikaku in what would become known as the Battle of the Coral Sea.  Japanese carrier planes attacked Lexington and she suffered two torpedo and three bomb hits.  Although not sunk immediately, gasoline vapor explosions tore her apart on 8 May causing uncontrollable fires.  Lexington had to be abandoned and was scuttled, the first U.S. aircraft carrier to be lost in World War II.

The men of the aircraft carrier Task Units were spared the horror of the surprise attack, of December 7, 1941, by being out to sea.  However during the first aircraft carrier battle on May 8, 1942, Battle of the Coral Sea, some 5 months after the attack on Pearl Harbor, a very dear close friend, John Stasko SF3c from Johnson City, New York, was Killed in Action aboard the USS Lexington CV-2.  His loss was a major reason for my joining the Navy at the age of 17.


Click here to view the names of men who died during WW II, Korea and Vietnam while serving aboard all aircraft carriers or flying from their pitching decks.  May their souls rest in Peace.  We cannot forget them and their sacrifice.  I thought of Andrew Pinko and John Stasko, as I stood at the rail preparing to abandon my ship.  Would I soon be joining them?


Tony Potochniak USS Gambier Bay - VC10 Web Site Historian

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